Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals

Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Tony Attwood. Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1998, 223 pages, $18.95 US.

Our son Jacob has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a disorder on the mild or "high functioning" end of the autism spectrum disorder.

Brief overview of content:

The book begins with a review of how people are diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome and what are the key attributes that indicate someone may have the syndrome. The book then goes chapter by chapter over major characteristics of Asperger's: social behavior, use of language, interests and routines, motor clumsiness, cognition, and sensory sensitivity. The characteristics are described and various ways to support the child (or teen/adult) or to mitigate the challenges that arise are provided. Each of these chapters end with a summary of strategies to support someone with Asperger's. A large final chapter with frequently asked questions is comprehensive and provides very specific answers. Three appendices cover various resources that are helpful. An extensive reference list is included, along with indexes by subject and authors.

Author overview:

Blurb from the back of the book: "Tony Attwood is a practising clinical psychologist who specialises in the field of Asperger's Syndrome. For the last twenty-five years he has met and worked with many hundred individuals with this syndrome, ranging wildly in age, ability and background."


1. Read cover to cover vs. consult as needed.

If the parent or professional wants to focus on a specific area, that section of the book can be consulted. The entire book is valuable, though, to give a bigger picture of the variety of challenges and solutions throughout a person's life as they deal with having Asperger's Syndrome or with a loved one or co-worker who has it.

2. Readability.

The language is not too technical. Many examples from real life cases are cited, adding a human dimension and more understanding and sympathy.

3. Helpful to a parent?

Each chapter goes in depth into the wide variety of possible challenges that can arise for children, teens, and adults with Asperger's. The chapters end with a bullet-point list of strategies for dealing with behaviors discussed.

4. Did we use it?

We've both read it and it's given us a clearer understanding of Jacob's condition. We haven't adopted specific actions but it has definitely formed our outlook on where we go from here. Also, it is one of those book where I read through it and started to wonder if I have Asperger's Syndrome too!

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